Saturday, June 4, 2011

Big Ass Trees

On Monday (Memorial Day) we drove from Zion Nat'l Park in Utah to Bakersfield California.

This placed us 3 1/2 short hours from our next stop - Sequioa National Park.

Our route from Zion took us south on I-15 thru Las Vegas to Barstow California where we picked up Ca route 58 West to Bakersfield.

I-15 is the main thoroughfare between Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well as points east such as Colorado.  We enjoyed extremely heavy traffic and all of its maladies  between Las Vegas and Barstow.  Something just does not seem right with sitting in a stopped traffic jam in the middle of the desert miles from anywhere.  I mean, one expects this on say - the NJ Turnpike at rush hour.....   But in the middle of the desert!!

Note to self:  Next memorial day make sure that we stay put for the day and don't travel.

Anyway...   We left Bakersfield and arrived in Sequoia on Tuesday.   There is zero cell service and no internet so I am doing the blog tonight off line and will post it later

Because of the lack of comm, I had planned on these few days being out of touch with work and actually doing full non-work vacation days but as luck would have it a number of issues popped up on the burner and I found myself scrambling for a way to communicate.   It turned out that about 7 miles down this winding road was a Lodge that offered free wifi to Park Visitors.  I became a regular shuttling back and forth between the campground, or places we were visiting and the Lodge to get on line and do what was needed.   In all I think I made about 7 or 8 trips to the lodge during the last 2 days.

Kate called this photo "Greg going to work"

But enough of work - we are here to see the trees.

The word "Sequoia" is an ancient indian word.  It was derived from the Anasazi word Sequa that means "Big Ass Trees"

The Sequoia Tree has bark that grows to almost 3' thick.  It is surprisingly soft and spongy - not hard like most trees.  It has very little sap in the bark and the bark provides insulation for the tree from fires.  The sap of the Sequoia is not flammable so that also protects the tree from fire as it does not burn easily.   Lastly - the Sequoia has a great ability to self heal.   All of the old trees carry many scars from their years of existence - evidence of the things that they have seen in their time here on Earth.   There are  Sequoias living today that are about 3,800 years old.  They were here when the Pharaohs ruled Egypt!

This morning dawned cool and foggy.  We decided to first do the driving portion of our visit in the hope that this afternoon would see the sun and warm up.

Our drive took us thru portions of the Giant Forest.   I particularly like this shot as it captured the mood of the morning.  It is impressive to view the living giants and also sad to see the fallen.

The "Tunnel Tree" has been around since the Automobile.   You can see pictures of old Model A Fords going thru the cut.  Unfortunately my pickup is too tall to go thru and we had to take the bypass around the tree.

Next we visited the Giant Forest Museum.  You can get an idea of the size of these trees by looking at the one next to the museum.   It is something like 260' tall.  That's like a 13 story building.

They say this tree is just an average Sequioa.  Only 1,800 years old and average size.

The top disappears into the clouds!

Here is a shot looking up a group of 6 trees.

After a trip back to the lodge - and a working lunch - we then headed off for our hiking portion of our visit.

We visited the General Sherman Tree - THE LARGEST TREE ON THE PLANET!

The General is the Tree with the black fire scar.  That scar is visible in a photo from the 1800's when the US Calvary Protected the park from Logging interests.  You can see a man on the left side of the tree base.

After the General Sherman - we took the 2.5mi Congress Loop Trail.   The trail winds thru the Giant Grove but many parts were snow covered so the hiking was a bit more difficult than normal.  It was still a great walk.

This was the start of the hike.

At one point you cross a stream on a foot bridge that is cut out under a fallen giant.

No post would be complete without our daily self portrait

And lastly - at the lodge Kate - being a lover of men with facial hair -  made a new friend.  I would have LOVED to bring him home to meet the Doodles....   That would have been a show indeed!

Tomorrow we pack up camp once again and head for one of the highlights of the trip - Yosemite National Park.    We spend 3 days there then head to Napa and a visit with our friends Matt & Julie.

See you in Yosemite.

LATE POST:  We're now in Yosemite and I still cant get a strong enough signal to send.   It keeps timing out.   Will try today when we go to the top of Glacier Point.

1 comment:

  1. Greg:

    You've told us what Sequoia means - but you better be reallllyyy careful with Yosemite.

    Looks like a great trip. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley in the mid 50's and spent lots of quality time exploring both areas with my folks and brother. We had friends that lived off the Tuolumne River and we used to explore all through the area - that was back before people were around! Even panned for gold and explored some of the old ruins East of Angels Camp.


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